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Martin Kelly stars in defence but Palace can't hold out against Tottenham

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino lauds his team's second-half effort against Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace held Tottenham for much of the game but, with the quality that the North London side has, a tactical change at half-time allowed them to take a greater hold. They made that dominance count with Christian Eriksen's goal and a narrow win.


That Palace fans might feel disappointed not to have picked up a point from the match is an indicator of just how far the Eagles have come since Sam Allardyce took charge.


The injury to Mamadou Sakho, at a point where he returned to peak form, is gutting. Palace's defensive problems mean that they now have just two fit centre-backs, Martin Kelly and Damien Delaney, to choose from.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Palace gave Tottenham a real challenge, especially in the first half. Spurs made a tactical change, bringing on Son Heung-Min Son and Mousa Sissoko, which stretched Palace's tight midfield out. The squad still lacks a bit of depth to counter such a change.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Wayne Hennessey, 7 -- Nothing he could do about Eriksen's supreme strike. Had a stable performance otherwise.

DF Jeffrey Schlupp, 7 -- Had a good first half but appeared overwhelmed by the introduction of Sissoko.

DF Mamadou Sakho, 8 -- Was excellent up until the injury, with some delightful touches and sound defending. Hopefully the injury won't be as bad as feared.

DF Martin Kelly, 9 -- Few defenders are capable of keeping Harry Kane quiet, but Kelly and Sakho did just that. It was an excellent performance from Kelly.

DF Joel Ward, 7 -- Like Schlupp, Ward had a good first half but found a greater challenge when Son came on.

MF Luka Milivojevic, 8 -- As Spurs pushed for the winner, they stretched Palace's midfield out. Milivojevic did the defensive work well but was exposed by that tactical change.

MF James McArthur, 7 -- Had a few chances to take a shot but the rustiness following months out of the side showed a little.

MF Jason Puncheon, 7 -- As with Milivojevic, Puncheon struggled to adjust to Spurs changing their approach at half-time.

FW - Wilfried Zaha, 7 -- Repeatedly fouled during the game, Zaha did well to stay calm for as long as he did. It was a clear tactic from Tottenham to slow him down and it worked.

FW Christian Benteke, 7 -- Tottenham's centre-backs didn't give Benteke a chance. The striker was marked out of the game, a task other sides struggled to complete.

FW Andros Townsend, 7 -- Forced to play as a wing-back for much of the game, but did what was asked of him. Also provided some good set-pieces during the game.


DF Damien Delaney, 7 -- On for Sakho, and did a decent job of keeping the defensive shape.

MF Yohan Cabaye, NR -- Replaced a tired-looking McArthur, bringing a little more energy to Palace's midfield.

FW Fraizer Campbell, NR -- Brought on to rest Benteke for the visit of Burnley on Saturday. Chased Tottenham's back line intently.

Robert Sutherland is ESPN FC's Crystal Palace blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @RoDuSu.


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